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Such as it Is

Decorating has never been my strong suit. I will never have a home featured in a magazine layout. My home decor style can be described as “Stuff I Like and Stuff People Have Given Me that I Don’t Hate”.  It’s very eclectic, which is fancy for (shout out to all those Fancy Nancy fans), “completely random, serving no cohesive purpose”.  So, here goes.  I have completed (mostly) my decorating goals.  Don’t judge.

Area one: The kitchen corner shelf, aka, “the place I shove stuff I don’t know what to do with” (Yes, I know, don’t end with a preposition, but “stuff with which I don’t know what to do” sounded a bit pretentious).

I tried to keep it clean and simple with a few pieces I like.  The big yellow bowl just makes me happy (Thanks Eunie!), and the “Gentle” tile always needs to be on display where I can see it as a constant reminder for how I need to interact with my children.

Area two: The shelf, aka, “the hand-me-down from my sister I love, but haven’t decided what I should use it for”

Not only are my decorating skills lacking, but so are my photography skills. My apologies for the poor photos. Here I merely added a few things I like, framed pictures with sentimental value, and a basket at the bottom for function (I’ll probably look for a taller one, but this works for now).

Area three: The bathroom wall, aka, “the bathroom wall”.

Before – blank, after – not blank.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Area four: Another blank wall, aka, “yup, it’s empty”.

I’ve always wanted a photo collage wall, so I did one.  It’s not Pinterest worthy, but I like it. My favorite people star here along with a few pieces that just seem right.

I have one more room to go, so I didn’t quite get it all done. This next week (and I mean “week” quite loosely), my project is to complete that one final room, our living room. It is the one room in our house that has a fresh coat of paint, so I would like to spend some time getting it right.


Return to Order

This past year has been a year of great internal struggle. Most of my struggle has focused around whether I am in the place I am supposed to be, doing what it is I am supposed to do, and making the decisions I am supposed to be making regarding my children. I believe that God has a correct path for each of us, and I am struggling with whether or not I am on that path. I have not yet figured it out. I still do not have complete peace. Yet, as I prayer through this, I feel there is one concrete thing I need to do to bring a little bit of steadiness to my seemingly uncertain situation — I need to get organized.

It has been three years since we have moved to this home, and three years where I really haven’t focused on getting things organized. I still feel like I am living in my “new” home, when I should be fully occupying it at this point.  To my shame, I have boxes of decor stuffed away in the closet – my walls and shelves remain mostly bare, save what is needed to function on a daily basis. My poor excuse is that it is the perfectionist in me. I don’t want to do something until I can do it “right”. I have visions of the perfect paint job, flooring, light-fixtures . . . But, it is time I start making this “new” home our true home.

As I enter a new year, I want to enter it with faith “. . . that He who has begun a good work in (me) will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6); I am not yet completed, and my answers will come in His time. I want to enter it with joy and contentment in my current circumstances, but with the willingness to change if that is what is required of me. And finally, I want to enter it with the resolve to organize (or re-organize) that with which I have been entrusted, and to complete what I have left undone for so long in order to create a place of comfort for my family.

I am returning to this blog to once more chronicle my journey to a place of order, and to provide myself with some accountability as I record my weekly progress. This week, I will be unpacking those forgotten boxes shoved under the staircase closet for far too long, and finally putting some holes in my walls, whether or not I like the paint job.

Fall Frenzy and a BIG Blessing

Fall is in the air, here in Idaho. The leaves have yet to start turning, but you can feel it. Everything feels a little more urgent, frantic even, as fall creeps nearer. The air is cooler, and yet the sun is more intense, as though it is giving us one last “what for” while our side of the earth slips away. The garden is slowly ceasing to flower, but vegetables are ripening daily and I am frantically trying to pick and can and freeze in every spare moment. The kids seem to know their days of sunshine are coming to an end and are outside every waking moment, along with the steady stream of neighborhood children that seem to make their way into our back yard each day. And to top it all off, school has started along with all the fall sports and activities that keep us running from place to place.

We are trying something new with our oldest son, who is now in 6th grade. While we continue to homeschool, he is attending the local middle school for band each day, then he heads back over there after school to run with the cross country team. I am suddenly seeing this young, confident, independent young man emerge. On his first day, I was so nervous I didn’t sleep the night before and thought I might throw up when I walked him in to complete his registration; he was completely calm. Now he is riding his bike to and from each day, taking care of all the little details I thought I would have to help him with, and of course immediately finding friends. He said to me yesterday, “Mom, I love homeschooling, but I kind of like going to ‘real’ school too because I got to talk to another boy about Jesus.” I almost cried. This is what it is all about!

Unofficial Projects

I haven’t posted for a couple weeks, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. Since I haven’t officially been doing any organizing projects, I thought I would give a quick re-cap of some of what I have been doing and share my very limited knowledge or the resources I’ve used.

Project #1 – I started my garden. Well, the seedlings for my garden. Though our sunny weather has been tempting me to get out and plant in the ground, I’m resisting because March in Idaho still freezes pretty hard at night. We are starting to see a little bit of green popping up!


I’m not even close to being a gardening expert, but this is what I do to get my seedlings started:

First, I determine what to start and when to start it.  Most plants shouldn’t be planted outside until the danger of frost has passed, which is around the beginning of May in my area. A quick look at the back of your seed packets will determine when and where you should start your seeds.  Many seeds will instruct direct sowing, which means planting them directly into your outside soil.  I wait on most of these until May. I might plant some cooler weather plants (peas, broccoli, lettuce, beats . . .) a bit earlier. Other packets suggest beginning indoors 6 – 8 weeks prior to planting.  Typically, I stick with my tomatoes, my peppers, and sometimes my cucumbers to begin indoors. This year I also started a few grasses and flowers for fun. My friend over at Kate’s Kitchen Garden begins a lot more than I do a lot earlier because she likes to get a jump on her garden (for serious gardening advice check out her blog). It all depends upon how much work you want to put into it. If you start indoors early, you will have to do a lot more transplanting into larger pots before taking them outside.  I will transplant, especially the tomatoes because in my experience they really need to be larger than the planter allows in order to have a better chance of survival in the garden. But I don’t mind a later harvest, so I don’t plant but what is absolutely necessary indoors.

Next, I find what I will plant in.  This year I bought a seedling planter.  It’s convenient and easy to use and not terribly expensive.  In the past I have used egg cartons as starters. I also buy a bag of planting soil. I will dump it in a bowl, then slowly add water until the soil is damp but not saturated. Then I put the soil into the planters and make a small depression in each partition for seeds.  I will place 3 of 4 seeds in each partition just for a better chance, then thin each down to one sturdy plant later.  Finally, I cover the seeds with a little more soil and add just a little more water.  It is important to keep the soil damp at this stage, so if I have the store-bought planter I will use the lid on top as a sort of green-house and to keep in moisture while the seedlings are getting started.  I find a nice sunny place (usually by my kitchen window) and check daily to ensure the soil stays damp.

Project #2 – I started Dante Alighieri’s Inferno with my homeschool co-op literature class.


It was the class request (homeschool kids – sheesh), but we are having so much fun with this one.  I’m not sure if there is much of a market for resources for this text, but if needed, here is a link to one I have found particularly helpful (and free!) as I prepare.

Project #3 – We (and by we, I mean me – the hubby was on-board long ago) finally broke down and got the kids a puppy.  They have been wanting a dog for years. So after a little research and a lot of looking on Craigslist and in the paper we found a little labradoodle we’ve name Daisy.


She’s awfully cute, but puppies really are a lot of work. We’ve been reading every article we can find and wading through all kinds of opposing views on how to and how not to train your puppy. We are new to puppies, so it can be confusing.  I’m still not sure if we are doing it right (check back with me in about a year or so), but click here for a link to an article on puppy training that seemed to present the least confusing method.

Project #4 – This is not really a project, but something to check off the to-do list.  We finally took the kids to the zoo!

 Kids at Zoo

There you have it . . . a sampling of what has kept me busy the past couple weeks.

Keep It Simple, Stupid

My sister-in-law over at Winged Wisdom (homeschool mom extraordinaire – someday she will be on a speaking tour and publishing her own curriculum), made a comment on my previous post that made me think. She asked whether anyone used an old fashioned desk for their “command center” anymore. I don’t have a desk, but I had to admit that maybe I was getting a little carried away with my plans (again).  Why not just keep it simple? So, rather than going with my somewhat elaborate ideas (see previous post), I kept a lot of what I already had with a few added touches.


The wall above this little piece was already complete with the shelf for keys and magnet boards. I simply added the blue desk organizer, then cleaned out the top drawer to make it my new “junk drawer”. It previously held bibs and wash-rags for sticky little faces and fingers. My kids have outgrown both so it was time for the clean-out.

I did have two little moments of creativity (or complete cheapskate – you decide). First, I wanted pretty file folders, but I already had a big box of regular file folders and just couldn’t justify the purchase. So I made my own. I took wall paper samples from a discontinued wall paper book I was given, all in the same color scheme, and pasted them onto the front of the files. Boom – pretty file folders!

Plain files     Wallpaper books     Pretty Files

Second, I wanted some drawer organizers for my “junk drawer”. Rather than buy fancy organizers I decided to use something I already had. I found these unused plastic pencil boxes in my school room.


Open them, place them in the drawer, add some labels. . . Boom – drawer organizers!


Thanks for the inspiration, Julie!

Commanding Inspiration

I have been slowly working out my updated command center. I have, once again, gone searching to see what others have done that might suit my new space more effectively.  Here are some that I am drawing inspiration from.


This from Clean and Scentsible is just plain clean and sensible. I plan to incorporate a wall file holder as she has done.


Here is another straightforward, clean and simple command center from Simple As That.  My take from this is that I will be downsizing the visible command center components and incorporating a chalk or white-board for menus and grocery lists (that part of the project will probably be added next week).


Finally, this command center from Organizing Homelife has inspired me to make use of the ample cabinet space I have in my new kitchen, so my paper trail is not always visible. I will be busy this weekend.

Back in Command

This week I am revisiting my “command center“.  The “command center” is the latest word for that place in our homes from which we keep track of and manage what is important – schedules, homework, budgets, bills, etc.  This is what I came up originally:

DSCF2332 DSCF2036 DSCF1921

After living with mine for well over a year, I have a few issues I need to deal with. First, in our move from one house to another, the spaces just didn’t transfer well. What was in reach and functioning well in our previous house is not compatible with our go-to space in this house.  Second, there are some things I simply don’t like about the way I set up my home-management system. For example, I don’t like having everything in a home-management binder, especially bills. It may sound terribly lazy, but when I get a bill in the mail I want someplace to just quickly toss it until bill-paying day rather then getting out my binder, finding the right tab for bills, then filing it. Some aspects I will keep, but this week I will be fine-tuning and changing things up a bit.